September 29, 2014

Introducing plants from the boreal forest of Quebec - Card # 3 : Coptis trifolia (L.)

Laurie Caron - Plant card

Figure 1 : Plant representation.

Latin name: Coptis trifolia (L.) and its former name is Coptis groenlandica (Oeder) Fern.

Common Names: Goldthread Greenland, Sabouillane, Sibouillane, Gold-thread. 

Small herbaceous perennial with rhizomes slender, wiry and yellow gold (Figure 1). The leaves of this plant are basal, long-stalked, glossy superiorly (Figure 2)1. The Coptis trifolia is very common in the undergrowth of the boreal forest and widely known for its biological properties. Most studies deal with the active compounds in the rhizome of this plant is recognized several alkaloids (berberine, palmatine, jatrorrhizine, coptisine, columbamine and epiberberine)2 for their many properties. Berberine is the molecule which is found in greater quantities in dry rhizomes C. trifolia (5.20 to 7.69 % w / w)3.

 Berberine is known to treat various intestinal infections, to be antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory3. Recent studies also show that berberine possesses anti-tumor properties and relatively high cytotoxicity4 and would be a good candidate as a general antineoplastic agent (anticancer agent)3.

Figure 2 : Representation of leaves of C. trifolia

On the other hand, the use of various forms rhizomes (infusion, decoction, etc.) is listed in the literature widely ethnobotanical uses of Native American tribute Iroquois5, Micmac6 and Algonquian7. The biological activities attributed to these concoctions are relieving digestive disorders, treatment of respiratory problems and heart, relief of fever and toothache5–7.

Fresh Bitter roots were chewed and it could also help heal sores inside the mouth often caused by tobacco use. 

The yellow rhizome also used for dyeing skins of native americans (indians)1.


(1)       Marie-Victorin. Flore Laurentienne; 3e ed.; Gaëtan Morin éditeur: Montréal, 2002.
(2)         He, Y.; Hou, P.; Fan, G.; Arain, S.; Peng, C. Comprehensive Analyses of Molecular Phylogeny and Main Alkaloids for Coptis (Ranunculaceae) Species Identification. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 2014, 56, 88–94.
(3)         Tang, J.; Feng, Y.; Tsao, S.; Wang, N.; Curtain, R.; Wang, Y. Berberine and Coptidis Rhizoma as Novel Antineoplastic Agents: a Review of Traditional Use and Biomedical Investigations. Journal of ethnopharmacology 2009, 126, 5–17.
(4)         Lin, L.-T.; Liu, L.-T.; Chiang, L.-C.; Lin, C.-C. In Vitro Anti-hepatoma Activity of Fifteen Natural Medicines from Canada. Phytotherapy research : PTR 2002, 16, 440–444.
(5)         Herrick, J. W. Iroquois Medical Botany, State University of New York, Albany, 1977, p. 322.
(6)         Speck, F. G. and R. W. D. Utilization of Animals and Plants by the Micmac Indians of New Brunswick. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1951, 250–259.
(7)         Black, M. J. Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec; Canada, N. M. of, Ed.; 65th ed.; Ottawa, 1980; p. 167.

September 22, 2014

Introducing plants from the boreal forest of Quebec - Card # 2 : Anaphalis margaritacea (L.) Benth. & Hook

Laurie Caron - Plant Card

Latin name: Anaphalis margaritacea (L.) Benth. & Hook
Common names: Immortal, Immortal silver, Life-everlasting, Anaphale daisy. 

Anaphalis margaritacea is a herbaceous, perennial and widespread in the temperate boreal zone1. It is often found in fields and roadsides (Figure 1). You can easily recognize this plant by its long stem (30-100 cm) and the woolly inferiorly and superiorly pubescent leaves (Figure 2). These flowers are made ​​highbush and white bracts finely striated (Figure 3)1. The chemical compounds in different parts of the immortal are still poorly studied. Some articles mention that this plant was used in traditional medicine to treat colds, coughs, rheumatism and respiratory problems2.

The advantages of this plant are listed for various types of compounds are flavonoids, triterpenes and diterpenes and also hydoxylactones2. These compounds are known for their antioxidant2, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities3.

Figure 1 : Representation of the plant

Figure 2 : Leaves of the plant seen from below

 More specifically, the aqueous ethanolic extract of the plant leaves was identified as having interesting antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) with 18 mm of inhibition (disk diffusion method) area4. The extract of the aerial parts have also demonstrated significant antibacterial activity against B. cereus, P. aeruginosa and E. coli4. The few studies on the antibacterial activity of Anaphalis margaritacea all agree to say that this plant would have an interesting potential for use as an antibacterial agent in various pharmacological and medical sectors5.

Figure 3 : Representation of flowers of Anaphalis margaritacea (L.)


(1)      Marie-Victorin. Flore Laurentienne; 3e ed.; Gaëtan Morin éditor: Montréal, 2002.
(2)      Ren, Z.; Wu, Q.; Shi, Y. Flavonoids and Triterpenoids from Anaphalis Margaritacea. Chemistry of Natural Compounds 2009, 45, 610–611.
(3)     Ren, Z.-Y.; Zhang, Y.; Shi, Y.-P. Simultaneous Determination of Nine Flavonoids in Anaphalis Margaritacea by Capillary Zone Electrophoresis. Talanta 2009, 78, 959–963.
(4)      Borchardt, J. R.; Wyse, D. L.; Sheaffer, C. C.; Kauppi, K. L.; Fulcher, R. G.; Ehlke, N. J.; Biesboer, D. D.; Bey, R. F. Antimicrobial Activity of Native and Naturalized Plants of Minnesota and Wisconsin. 2008, 2, 98–110.
(5)    Haider M. Hassan, Zi-Hua Jiang, Christina Asmussen, Emma McDonald, W. Q. Antibacterial Activity of Northern Ontario Medicinal Plant Extracts. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 2014, 94, 417–424.

September 17, 2014

Discoveries - Horticulture Indigo: Biodiversity in your flower beds!

Laurie Caron - Discoveries

By chance last week, I made the discovery on the web from a Quebec company that specializes in the sale of native wild plants in Quebec. These Horticulture Indigo.

Since 1994, they specialize in the production of native plants of Quebec and have to their credit over 250 species of seeds and plants. This organization aims mainly markets of ornamental horticulture, but also the ecological restoration of disturbed natural environments and the development of green roofs.

This horticultural company separate from the other due to its innovative range of produce specifically from our boreal forest plants, but also by its values ​​of protecting the environment and maintaining the diversity of these plants. This organization does not just sell these plants, it ensures a sustainable and responsible development of this market, and by establishing sound practices for nursery culture for this kind of plant.

I find it particularly interesting to use plants from the surrounding environment for ornamental horticulture, because these plants are naturally already adapted to the climate and temperature of our territory. In addition, the increase in their use will prevent the importation of plant from the rest of the world that sometimes become known invasive species. As an example, I cite the case of the Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) which is increasingly a major contributor to the province-wide problem.

In closing, it is important not to forget that plants from the boreal forest represents an impressive potential for biological activity recognized. What better than to have his flowerbed plant can relieve your headache in addition to being visually aesthetic?

Now it's up to you to judge!

For more information about Horticulture Indigo (Informations are in french):
Facebook Page:  

September 15, 2014

Introducing plants from the boreal forest of Quebec - Card # 1: Cornus canadensis (L.)

Laurie Caron - Plant card

Latin name: Cornus canadensis (L.)

Common Names: Dogwood Canada, Four-time Mullets, Dwarf cornel, Bunch-berry.

Cornus canadensis (L.) known as the four-time or Canadian dogwood is an herb that is found mostly in the undergrowth of the boreal forest of Quebec. An herb is a plant which by definition does not produce  cellulose or lignin in the stem and roots. These compounds are particularly wood fiber and impart rigidity and strength to the stems / branches / roots of trees and shrubs. The stems of herbaceous plants are more like grass, stems that are more flexible and malleable than those called Woody.

Cornus canadensis for his stem is woody at the base only contrary to common herbaceous plants. The other species of Cornus in Quebec (C. rugosa, C. obliqua, C. stolnifera and C. alternifolia ) are mostly trees and shrubs except C. suecica is a herbaceous as C. canadensis1.

Figure 1 : Cornus canadensis.
You can easily recognize the four-time by its small greenish-white flowers, often heavily ribbed oval and the number of four to six leaves and its red globular fruits1 (Figure 1). The literature mentions several times that the fruit is edible dogwood, but without elaborating more on the taste and culinary uses. As against, wherein the core is so hard as unsightly identified as a limitation to its use.

Very little literature addresses the accepted four-time biological activities. An article published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science states that the leaf extract of C. canadensis demonstrate antibacterial activity at low to moderate2. This activity has been measured by various methods (by diffusion (diffusion-plate Hole) by the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC)) as well as several types of bacteria (Escherichia coli, Aeromonas caviae, Paenibacillus alvei, Micrococcus luteus, Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium and Bacillus cereus)2.


(1)  Marie-Victorin. Flore Laurentienne; 3e ed.; Gaëtan Morin éditor: Montréal, 2002.

(2) Haider M. Hassan, Zi-Hua Jiang, Christina Asmussen, Emma McDonald, W. Q. Antibacterial Activity of Northern Ontario Medicinal Plant Extracts. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 2014, 94, 417–424.